With more than 180 students who have received their General Education Development (GED) degree since September 2008, LSC-Montgomery held its second annual GED graduation ceremony on Sunday, May 17, in the college’s theatre (Building D).
LSC-Montgomery has offered GED testing and test preparation for years, although it only recently began holding a graduation ceremony to acknowledge the hard work and determination that its GED students put into the program.
“For many of our GED students, this program represents a second chance to finish high school,” said Layton Gill, director of continuing education at LSC-Montgomery. “Some of our sister colleges have held GED graduation ceremonies for years, and it is one of the more emotional, inspiring events in the life of the college. There are some intense, gut-wrenching stories of students overcoming great odds to arrive at this moment.”
Two of those students are Ryan Deal, of Conroe, and her mother, Karen Deal. Graduating at the same time was special for the Deals, who have overcome multiple hurdles to reach their goals.
“I’m a single mother of a one-year-old girl,” said Ryan Deal, who started the GED program over a year ago. “I want to make a better life for my daughter, so I committed myself to getting this degree. Now, I want to pursue a career in diagnostic medical sonography.”
Karen Deal admired her daughter’s commitment so much that she, too, enrolled in the college’s GED program. As both a mother (of six) and grandmother (of five), she wants to be an example for her family.
“I see the need to further my education, and I’m enrolling in the certified nurse assistant program,” she said. “Getting the GED was just the first step.”
On Sunday, the Deals walked across the stage with 40 other GED graduates. LSC-Montgomery offers the chance to wear caps and gowns for everyone who passes the exam. While some students choose not to partake in the ceremony, the students who do participate enjoy an emotional and exciting event that they thought was lost to them forever.
“This is really cool,” said Nicole Thoma of The Woodlands. “I didn’t think I’d have the opportunity to walk across the stage. I was home schooled for a while, but that didn’t work out. All of us in the GED program had different backgrounds and different situations, but we made it through.”
Penny Westerfeld, interim president of LSC-Montgomery, sees tremendous value in the GED program.
“These graduates have opened doors to a brighter future,” said Westerfeld. “They are able to take firm steps toward achieving greater success in their academic careers, jobs and personal lives.”
There was a reception for the graduates and their friends and families immediately after the ceremony.
The GED program–first developed to provide returning World War II veterans with an opportunity to earn a high school credential–has served as a bridge to education and employment opportunities for an estimated 12.6 million since 1942. Today, approximately one in seven high school diplomas issued in the United States each year is a GED diploma.
LSC-Montgomery offers a GED review class with computerized software to prepare students for the GED test, which includes sections on writing, math, science, social studies and language arts and reading. Students must be 17 years of age or have parent or guardian permission to take the class and the GED Test, which is also offered by the college—both in English and Spanish. For the review class, students work independently on the computer with the guidance of an instructor. The college also offers both the full and partial GED test. The GED preparation and testing program is offered at the LSC-Conroe Center, which is located just east of downtown Conroe, off Highway 105 (102 Longview Street). For more information on the college’s GED program, call (936) 271-6000.
For more information about Lone Star College-Montgomery, visitMontgomery.LoneStar.edu or call (936) 273-7000. The college is located at 3200 College Park Drive, approximately one-quarter mile west of I-45 between Conroe and The Woodlands.
LoneStar College System consists of five colleges, including CyFair, Kingwood, Montgomery, North Harris, and Tomball, six centers and Lone Star College-University Center. With 51,000 students, it is the largest college system in the Houston area, and third largest community college district in Texas. To learn more, visit http://lonestar.edu/.